Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Today I saw

I just happened to walk on the road opposite my school.As I walked across, I saw a young girl carrying her bag, walk towards the school gate.Along with her I saw many children waving goodbye to their parents as they entered the school.Suddenly amongst the crowd of children I saw a familiar face.A face I had grown up seeing all my life.I saw a much younger Pranav walk towards the gate.This Pranav was much more energetic and full of life.I could see him playing around with a group of kids.It was probably during the spare time we always had before the early morning prayers. Then, I also saw my buddies from school - Ritesh,Priyanka,Sourabha,Ramprasad,Archana,Shweta,Resham,Hardik. These were the faces I grew up with during my school days.It felt nice to revisit those innocent times of life when life revolved around school,friends,homework,play,family dinners and sleep.Those were carefree times when I was unaware of what a career meant and what salaries and pay-packets were.Today life seems to have taken a 360 degree turn because here I am sitting all alone in my room writing this post.As I write about my school days, my mind goes back to those lovely times we all had in school.Truly,those were the best days of my life.

Monday, March 01, 2010

My visit to India Gate

Recently I went on a trip to Delhi.India Gate was topmost in my list of places to visit,which included some historical monuments like Red Fort,Rashtrapati Bhavan,Qutub Minar and Parliament.
India Gate was built by the British,the erstwhile colonial rulers of India, as a war memorial to the Indian soldiers who had fought alongside the British troops in World War I and the Afghan wars.After India gained independence from the British, India Gate became the site of the Indian Army’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or the Amar Jawan Jyoti(Flame of the Immortal Soldier),which burns in a shrine under the arch of India Gate.The shrine is made of black marble and is a cenotaph,with a rifle placed on it.On the rifle sits a soldiers helmet.On all four sides of the cenotaph are inscribed the words Amar Jawan(Immortal Soldier).The names of gallantry award winners are mentioned on the bricks of India Gate.
I had seen the India Gate on TV but that day I stood right in front of it. I could feel a sense of pride when I saw the names of the Indian soldiers on its walls.These were the soldiers who had fought many a war against oppressive regimes and invaders. They had sacrificed their lives for the idea of freedom and liberty during the maddening days of World War I, when humanity was kicked around at the cost of millions of lives.I could only bow my head in respect to the great heroes of India who had sacrificed their lives to ensure a better tomorrow for future generations.Standing alongside me were hundreds of other tourists, who too were thrilled to see this historical monument. Young children were giggling and dancing. Some of them were local school children, who had probably come over on a day trip. Most of the tourists, who were from the post World War II generation, had only heard of the mayhem and destruction caused during the two great wars. They all had come to see this magnificent structure, which today stands as a symbol of a nation’s gratitude to its soldiers who fought in World War I.
In front of the India Gate are three flags, each signifying the three armed forces of Independent India. I also saw soldiers marching around the memorial. Some of the soldiers were generous enough to pose for pictures with the ecstatic children. They were aware of the excitement their guns had created amongst the little ones.
It was soon time for me to leave. Before leaving I had a last look at the names on the Gate. A silent thank you was followed by a salute. As I left, I promised myself that I would come back soon. I await the day when I shall go back to visit this symbol of sacrifice and bravery.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What If

"What If" actually is a beautiful song written by Coldplay- one of my favourite bands.It starts off with the words - "What is there was no Life.Nothing wrong.Nothing right.What if there was no time.And no reason or rhyme."
I was just hearing the song all over again and realised that the song had a lot of depth in it.The lyrics somehow make a lot of sense.They probably are written from personal experience.
I am sure we all at some point in our lives come at a phase where the most logical and sensible of things just don't make any sense to us.We realise that the feelings we are going through at that time are probably momentary and those too shall pass but somehow deep inside,we just wish or probably hope to hold on.In this life we meet so many people.We go through so many emotions and feelings of joy as well as sorrow.Our family,friends,colleagues,relatives as well as strangers are invariably a part of some of the happiest as well as saddest moments of our lives. At some point in our lives when we look back at those moments we end up asking ourselves a question - "What If". This question generally pops up in our mind at times when we are down and out. The last few months have been those times for me where I have ended up asking myself this question umpteen number of times. This has mainly been due to the loss of someone for whom I always had a lot of warmth and respect.Emotionally I had lost touch with him almost 3 years back due to a disease which couldn't be cured and was slowly taking away every moment of his life.I lost touch with him physically just a few months back. Whenever this question pops up in my mind it ends up making me angry with myself for having been so insensitive at times and for not having done more than I should have to spend more time with that person.What If I had met him atleast once in 4 months whenever I used to go home in Bombay.What If I had called him up regularly when his mind and body was holding on against the onslaught of the disease.I would atleast have had many more memories of him with me.I would have managed to bring a smile or two on his face.The point I am trying to make is how we all end up getting tied up with our daily routine and become machines. Then one fine day due to a particular incident we just realise we have become machines without any emotions and feelings.I guess, most of us have forgotten to live. We are just breathing air,eating food,drinking water and working-to earn money. In between all of this do we ever think of calling up an old friend,talking to our uncles and aunts,meeting up with the neighbour who has been living alone since years,taking care of a relative who has been sick for quite some time ? These are just few things which we can do in a day. The list is just endless. I am sure we all would want to avoid coming across this one question -What If ? The only way to avoid this is to follow your heart. If you ever feel like hugging your parents without any reason just go ahead and do it.Don't think twice. You wish to talk to an old friend with whom you haven't spoken to in ages then just go ahead and call up or drop an email. Trust me he/she won't sue you for doing that! You have been sitting at home just wasting your time doing nothing and wish someone was around so that you could talk.Well, then just get up and go to meet your cousin/friend/relative or just anyone who wouldn't mind welcoming you in his/her home for a day. Life is too short for us to get entangled in routine work and ego problems. So just take time out and follow your heart. You will rarely come across those two painful words - What If.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The human mind

The brain - the CPU of the human body.It bloody well weighs not more than 1.6 - 1.8 kgs but can store tonnes and tonnes(or nanobytes,terabytes or any other form of byte) of information. I would call it god's most precious gift to mankind.My apologies to all feminists for using the word mankind but being the traditionalist that I am,I will prefer to stick to this word.
At times I do wonder what all this magnificent little devil can do if it is used in the proper way.We all have seen what it forces evil to do if they start using their brains in the wrong way.A look at recent history would give us glaring examples like Hitler,Stalin,Polpot,Osama and many others.The point here is what exactly goes on in a human mind and what is it that gives it the fuel and fodder to do things that it makes us do.I,for example, do keep using my brain continuously but its output usually isn't of much relevance to the world or to my immediate near and dear ones!!! Some people have also given me an alias called "Lost World".My mind generally makes me travel places where I have never been.At one moment I am in places like Kashmir,North East India,Goa and at the next moment I would be thinking about my family,career,friends and the good old times,though not necessarily in that order.In times when the heart comes out stronger over the brain,I generally go into a completely different zone and think about some special people who might actually be standing next to me at times!
The point here is not what all I think but what is it that makes the brain think or do all the things it makes us do.I am sure different people have much better control over their lives and also over their thoughts.But, this surely doesn't mean that they wouldn't be thinking about some vague things.At times I do feel like getting into the minds of some of my friends to get to know what exactly they think about me or others.Okay,okay,I know it would amount to spying but what the heck.It might make my life less complicated and easier as I would know who are my well wishers and who are just part time companions enjoying my company in their journey of life.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Moving on

The last 2.5 years have been one of the best and most enriching years of my life.
I spent those in the IT city of India - Bangalore. Destiny and luck got me in touch with some of the best possible roommates I could have got. Luck got me in touch with someone who in turn introduced me to some really great friends. Time just flew by in the company of these wonderful friends. I possibly couldn't have asked for more from anyone. Today I have got a transfer to Pune which is very much near Bombay,my hometown. The decision to take this transfer was a very conscious one taken after some deep thought.I had to move on in life at some point of time. I am not sure when I will meet those wonderful friends I still have in Bangalore. The only thing I am sure about is that they will always be a very important part of my life whom I will never forget.
I do have this mild feeling of sadness in my heart. I know I will overcome it in some time.However, I pray to God that he doesn't let me overcome the feeling of warmth that we all have for each other.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A must read

Some time back around last year I came across a book based on a true story.The title of the book read "The Sinking of the INS Khukri".It was written by a former Indian army major - Ian Cardoza(if I'm not wrong). This book is based on the 1971 Indo-Pak war which resulted in the birth of Bangladesh.I went through the back cover of the book and I just had to buy it as it was based on the true story of a few brave Navy Officers who lost their lives when an Indian war ship was sunk by the Pakistan Navy.
The captain of the ship was Mahendra Nath Mulla,a charismatic officer who led from the front.This is one of the best war stories I have ever read.It teaches us a lot about team work,leadership qualities,humanity and most importantly our duty towards the nation.Mr. Mahendra Nath Mulla was literally the last man standing on the ship as Naval traditions expect the captain of the ship not to leave it alone when it is sinking even if all the others on board have been saved.Mr. Mulla left behind his wife and two young daughters when he died.The book is a very poignant description of the lives of almost all the naval officers who lost their lives on board the vessel.It also speaks about the families that these officers left behind in the hope that they would be cared for by the insitutions they had served throught their lifetime and the country for which they sacrificed their lives.Not much has been written about these officers since their death.Towards the end of the book, General Cardoza does mention that Captain Mulla's daughters are now married and have children who are in their late teens and 20's.After I finished reading the book I actually felt like meeting them just to pay homage to this great soldier and his fellow officers who lost their lives in that war.I am sure others too will feel the same after reading the book.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Nation introspects

November 26 will always be remembered as a black day in India.The nation suffered one of the most audacious terror attacks carried out in any part of the world. For the next 3 days the business hub of South Bombay was turned into a war zone.A lot happened during those 3 days and afterwards.People were out on the streets shouting slogans against the terrorists,the system,politicians and almost anyone responsible for the mess we found ourselves in.The lives of one of the brightest and most efficient police officers and commandos were blighted.Around 200 innocent civilian lives were lost in the madness of those 3 days.
Many heads have rolled since then.A lot has been said and written about in the media and other circles.More importantly,people have started demanding the much needed change in the political and bureaucratic system.This talk of change till now was only restricted to political rallies and election speeches.This time things seem to be different.Now the people are demanding and the politicians are on the backfoot.This situation has been created not just due to the loss of those 200 lives in those dreadful attacks.It is a situation which has been created due to the loss of the lives of thousands of soldiers along the borders of India in the past 60 years and those in the paramiltary and police force.The loss of innocent civilians in Kashmir,North Eastern states of India,Punjab and many other states have only added to the body count.The nation always was a mute spectator to this madness.The wayward ways of the political class were seldom questioned which always led to more bloodshed.November 26th was a catalyst to all this madness around us.It has awakened us from our slumber as now the enemy is not just at our doorstep but is inside our homes.The anger and outrage of the people over the system is totally justified.The terrorists not only attacked our homes but also our lifestyle,our history and our freedom.They need to be stopped immediately.The resolve shown by the people after the attacks has been very heartening.This show of strength and unity wouldn't have been possible had it not been for the meaningless loss of lives of the civilians and security forces.We will not be able to get back those who are no more with us.The people we lost on the borders, Kashmir,Punjab,North East and umpteen number of places can never be brought back.But we surely can pledge to ensure that the November 26 attacks will never be repeated.In case they do,we will come out on the streets and demand our basic rights of freedom and security even if the attacks occur in a nondescript village of India.Most importantly, let us pray for those we lost to the madness of violence over the last 60 years.India owes a lot to each and every one of them-civilians as well as soldiers.Let us pray that we as a nation do not fail to protect our citizens.We can only say sorry to the one's who are no more with us.As for those who are with us,let us ask ourselves if we care.I'm sure the answer would be an overwhelming yes.Let this answer be the beginning of a new democratic but firm resolution.This unity should go out as a warning to our enemies both within and oustide the country.The message for our political class is very clear- perform or perish.As for our enemies,we have only one thing to say - Don't you dare!